Welcome to Footprints of Italian Prisoners of War a comprehensive archive of documents, artefacts, testaments, photographs and research relating to this compelling chapter in Australian history. This is a community history involving Australian and Italian families from ten countries who have shared their stories so that this history is not forgotten.
Over 18000 Italian Prisoners of War came to Australia from 1941 – 1945. Captured in theatres of war in North Africa, East Africa and Europe, they were transported to Australia via staging camps in Egypt, Palestine and India.
There is much written about internment in Cowra, Murchison and Hay the main Prisoner of War and Internment Camps in New South Wales and Victoria, but only snippets of information are recorded about Italian prisoners of war in other states.
This research features Italian prisoners of war and their farming families in Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales. Articles cut across a range of topics: the battles in Libya, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Greece; the movement of prisoners from the place of capture to prisoner of war camps in Egypt and Palestine; interment in the camps of India; transport to Australia; repatriation from Australia and arrival in Naples.
The stories and memories of Italian and Australian farming families gives this history a voice. The diversity of photos and relics shared personalises what would otherwise be a very black and white official report.
The articles featured on the project’s website brings colour and personality to this almost forgotten chapter in Australia’s history.
The Italian prisoners of war were more than just a POW. They were fathers, brothers, sons and husbands from across Italy and from diverse backgrounds and occupations.
Follow their journey…. Walking in their Boots
Nonno Ermano Nicoletti’s Journey
(Photos and documents from: AWM, Red Cross, NAA, Trove, Alessandra Nicoletti, Nambucca Guardian: Ute Schulenberg, David Akers)